By Ran Aubrey Frazier
Originally published on Advocate.com February 13 2014 3:03 PM ET
In the wake of a Los Angeles TV reporter's mix-up of two famous African-American actors, out CNN anchor Don Lemon has proclaimed, "People do look alike!"
Lemon's remarks, Tuesday night on Erin Burnett OutFront, were in response to a tense live on-air exchange Monday morning between actor Samuel L. Jackson and KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin, in which Rubin confused the Robocop star with Laurence Fishburne.
“Did you get a lot of reaction out of that Super Bowl commercial?” Rubin asked Jackson, referring to a Matrix-inspired commercial that featured Fishburne.
Jackson fired back, "What Super Bowl commercial? ... I'm not Laurence Fishburne. We don't all look alike! We may be all black and famous, but we all don't look alike! You're busted!"
Rubin later issued a public apology, stating that he was "really embarrassed" about his "very amateur mistake."
On Burnett's show, Lemon defended Rubin, saying, "When someone is in our tribe ... I think it's particularly easier for us to tell them apart, because we're used to their facial features."
Noting that he might receive criticism for his argument, Lemon continued, "There are features that African-Americans have that are similar. There are features that white people have that are similar. There are features that Hispanics have that are similar."
He then broadened his observation beyond race towards other subgroups, telling Burnett, "You go to Brooklyn, and everybody’s got a beard and plaid shirt. They may be able to tell each other apart, but they kind of all look alike to me.”
Before ending the segment, Lemon speculated that Jackson's response might have been intensified by the racial politics of Hollywood, which have resulted in "a wound that has been opened over and over again, because black actors in Hollywood are always looking to be recognized."
Watch the segment below, courtesy of Mediaite.